master Zakir Hussain returns to the city with a hand-picked group of musicians and a repertoire of ragas and thalas
Coinciding with the Margazhi season, Ustad Zakir Hussain is coming to town with the latest edition of Masters of Percussion. Performing with him at the Music Academy will be Niladri Kumar on electric sitar, Selva Ganesh on kanjira, Steve Smith on drums, Dilshad Khan on sarangi, Vijay Chavan on dolki and Deepak Bhatt on dhol. We catch up with the tabla maestro ahead of the show:
We have had similar percussion concerts across India, but in the format of Masters of Percussion, it is being performed for the first time in Chennai. An important feature of the evening will be the Jazz drummer we have as part of the band. The show will also have a planned approach—a suggestion of a meeting of various rhythm traditions, coming across each other as travellers and having a conversation. This will be achieved on stage in a seamless show that will rely on music rather than words to give the audience a bird’s eye view of our planet as a rhythm world.
Masters of Percussion has had many combinations of musicians. But this (the present band) is the combination that recently completed a hugely successful tour of USA and Canada. There will, however, be one member less—Kathak dancer and my wife, Antonia Minnecola, will be missing for this tour.
Collaborations have existed for centuries. The North Indian classical Khayal system is a result of collaboration. Bollywood and other film industries are all results of collaborations. If not for this kind of interaction, the music becomes stale and is eventually forgotten.
Indian musicians have a very grounded and traditional training, which instills in them a confidence in their abilities, a sense of belonging, an identity that they can be proud of.
At the Music Academy on December 3. Tickets from Rs.750 to Rs.3,500. Details: in.bookmyshow.com
—Surya Praphulla Kumar